Monday, August 22, 2016

There'll Alway be an England, or at least a Giles Cartoon Collection

     Giles Cartoons 1991. In 1991, Giles stopped working for the Sunday Express, although he continued to select the cartoons for subsequent albums. I’ve always liked his cartoons, especially his Family. His compositions are wonderful, he uses shading and black to create a clear structure. His line is always confident, and his ability to create expressions with a squiggle here and a curve there is unsurpassed.
     The cartoons tell stories, with many incidental details, and always make or imply some comment on the events of the day. Some are mildly indulgent observations about the follies and quirks of the English, and I suspect had a great influence on their self-image, especially their stoic endurance of often horrible weather, the culture of the local pub, cricket, horse racing as a legitimate excuse for gambling, and so on. But more often his comment was satirical. I leafed through the album to select an example, and found it difficult going. At random: Grandma is mowing a great curved swath in the lawn, grass clippings flying all directions, newspaper readers shaken, drinks about to fall off the tray carried by her daughter, who says, “I told you not to trust her with the lawnmower after her horse refused at the first fence.”
     Wikipedia’s article is a good intro, and there’s a collection available at the British Cartoon Archive, hosted by the University of Kent. ****

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